Columbus Day, or Indigenous Peoples' Day, is an official state and federal holiday, with a variety of closures for offices, businesses, and schools, but a regular day for others.

The state of Maine and many Seacoast communities have completely renamed the holiday or combined both.

“Maine is home to people from many lands, like those with Italian, French and other ancestries, whose contributions we recognize and cherish," Maine Gov. Janet Mills said when she signed a bill in 2019.

A flag commemorating Dover's celebration of Indigenous Peoples' Day will fly in front of Dover City Hall on Monday. During a ceremony on Friday Mayor Robert Carrier joined leaders of the Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook-Abenaki People, Committee for Racial Equity and Inclusion members, other elected officials and members of the public for a flag-raising ceremony Friday.

Durham has called the day Indigenous Peoples' Day since 2017 and was joined by UNH in 2019.

Newmarket celebrates the day both holidays following a unanimous vote of the town council in 2018. Councilor Casey Finch during the meeting when the vote was taken said that because the state and federal holiday is still "Columbus Day" it would be best to combine the names.

Vice Chair Toni Weinstein said she liked the inclusivity in general but also liked the balance of both holidays.

Portsmouth refers to the day as both after what appeared to be a one-time commemoration as just Indigenous Peoples’ Day in 2020 after Portsmouth High School's We Speak social justice group appealed to the city council.

The council voted on June 7 to return to the name Columbus Day but a second vote on June 21 due to “confusion in a previous vote" resulted in another unanimous vote to use both.

Exeter's Select Board in 2020 unanimously voted to change the name as did the Oyster River school district voted to change the name in 2018

Newburyport's city council approved a resolution at its August 9 to rename the day.

Columbus Day was first celebrated as a federal holiday in 1937, to commemorate the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus. The Uniform Holiday Act took effect in 1971, and made the holiday officially the second Monday of every October.

All state agencies in Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire will be closed on Monday. Most public schools are closed, but many colleges and universities are holding class as normal.

Check with your destination to make sure it is open or closed on Monday.


  • Post offices
  • State and federal courts
  • State offices
  • Many public schools


  • Financial markets
  • Banks (Some banks are closed. Check your institution's schedule.)
  • COAST buses and the MBTA  operate on a regular schedule.
  • Malls
  • Retail stores
  • FedEx and UPS will make regular pickups and deliveries
  • Most colleges and universities (check your institution's schedule)

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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